Ask An Agent: How Do I Get Teens to Stop Trolling?

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Question:  How do I counteract the influence of internet troll culture in my public library teen room? There’s a troubling worship of bullying via trolling going on among many of my regulars, and while I can shut down instances of the behavior, I’m having trouble attacking the root causes. I’m working on a display but I’m not sure what else I can do beyond hammering away at it not being acceptable behavior.

 Laura (Wabash Carnegie Public Library) says:

Gather examples of online trolling and examples of real-life bullying. Sit down with your regulars and ask them what they think of it, is it okay, why ISN’T it okay, what they would do if this happened to them or one of their friends. Then tell them you want to work on a project that fight this behavior in the community, starting at the library and in their schools. Ask them for ideas on how to start, make sure you bring some of your own. Maybe if it’s approached as a project and not accusatory, you’ll get better results. Books like Positive by Paige Rawl or Wonder by R.J. Palacio are good conversation starters. You can also check out and get more resources to help you make your library a safe space for all teens.


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